Only a doctor can tell for sure whether a growth is suspicious, so it’s important to see your doctor if you notice anything that worries you. If cancer is suspected, your doctor will cut out the affected skin and send it to the laboratory for testing (a biopsy). This test will tell for sure whether the growth is harmless (benign) or cancerous.
Whether you tan or not, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on any moles, freckles or lumps you may have on your skin. Check your skin all over, using a mirror to look at hard-to-see places such as your back.
Check with your doctor if you notice any of the following skin changes:
- A new growth or spot on the skin, such as a mole, a scaly patch or a lump
- A change in an existing skin spot or growth
- A sore that does not heal
In particular, be on the lookout for moles or skin spots that have any of the following symptoms:
- Larger than a pencil eraser from edge to edge
- Uneven, blurred or ragged edges
- More than one colour, such as black, brown or tan, or even bits of red, white or blue
- One half that doesn’t match the other half (asymmetry)
- A noticeable increase in size